Is Marvel’s Vision Black?
I loved WandaVision. It ticked all the boxes, I was invested and it was beautiful, but I hope that WandaVision is the first step toward an MCU that doesn’t use easter eggs and character reveals as a substitute for plot. But when #Vishawn appeared on #BlackTwitter it made me think of something else.
— 🇬🇭 A Creative (@inDAVIDuall) March 7, 2021
What if Vision has been Vishawn the entire time?
I think it’s totally unintentional, but “meaningfully subconscious.”
— Sob Ross (@sob_ross) March 7, 2021
Sometimes these themes emerge without conscious input to them. Like, obviously Paul [Bettany] plays Vision so when not in makeup he’s white… But he’s only out of makeup when he’s trying to be with Wanda.
— Loco Buki (@buki_loco) March 7, 2021
In Infinity War he’s white when they meet up. In WandaVision he’s white every time he leaves the house or outsiders enter the house, only allowed to be himself when alone with his family. That is, until the 80s / 90s era of WandaVision when the first thing Wanda proclaims is that she doesn’t care who sees him. Is that intentional commentary about mixed race and white presentation in America through the decades? I don’t know if it’s intentional, but yes, it is.
Isn’t it strange that the first time Wanda and Vision have an argument it’s when Wanda snidely comments that she has power over him with her subtextual whiteness. That comment about controlling him happens in the context of his access to the house, the children, everything that is at risk for Vision if he chooses to be true to himself and not the illusion of white suburbia that Wanda has provided him access to.
It’s kind of wild.
According to HipHopWired: “Vision rocking a slim-fitting turtleneck during the season finale of the Disney+ series was just too easy to get those savvy with the graphics to flip the staid character into a zaddy. And it all just snowballed from there. Ever since, Vision has been outfitted in gold chains, grown man beards, du-rags, Kinte cloth and even gold fronts. It is worth noting that Vision is a synthezoid who was created by Ultron with the purpose of destroying the Avengers and is made from Vibranium. The aforementioned metal is only found in Wakanda—the African nation ruled by Black Panther. Thus, ‘Vishawn’ is of African descent and at least bi-racial. Yes, that was definitely thought out.”
— Fangirl (@JillRobiFangirl) March 6, 2021
Real talk? They asked for this when they introduced “White Vision.”
White Vision is an analogy for cultural assimilation on this show. I’ll die on that hill. He’s literally a cop tasked with policing HIMSELF.
@justhuge469Reply to @treverr__06 #greenscreen #vishawn #vision #blackpeople #mcu #wandavision #wanda♬ No More Parties – Coi Leray
I feel a very special connection to the Vishawn in question.
I’m white of African slave ancestry. My paternal grandfather’s family is from Senegal. They were brought to the Americas on a ship named El Pueblo to be slaves in the West Indies. It made me wonder at what point does whiteness erase any connections to your past and what even are those connections if your skin tone has allowed you accept all of the privileges of whiteness that your grandparents never experienced.
— i love jc and kian (@ifuck1ngloveknj) March 9, 2021
Then notion of Vishawn stems from the contention that Vision was made from stolen Wakandan Vibranium and Tony Stark’s AI. He’s an allegory for everyone part of the African diaspora who slowly self-actualized from Ultron to Infinity War. I’m just taking that further by suggesting that White Vision is colonialism stripping Vision of his collective memories and exploiting his body into a self-hating tool of war.
@justhuge469Vision is darkskin confirmed #greenscreen #wandavision #vishawn #wanda #marvel #blacktwitter #Coming2America #blackpeople#voiceeffects♬ Track Star – Mooski
Think about it. Infinity War‘s entire plot revolves around returning Vision to his mother country to heal.
My contention is that he’s been Vishawn the entire time. I think it’s totally unintentional, but “meaningfully subconscious.”
Black Twitter adds hysterical details like noting that Vishawn has the Soul Stone.
— Jason Thee Scallion (@WeirdGuyJay) March 7, 2021
It’s interesting to compare and contrast WandaVision to HBO’s Watchmen. Vision is basically the MCU’s Dr. Manhattan in his power set and you can compare Vishawn/Vision Dr. Manhattan taking on the face of a Black man. While that was hailed as groundbreaking, Vishawn is sort of a joke.
what is social media if not Black Twitter persevering? pic.twitter.com/4n0rvWJwR0
— cora🎮 @ fe3h occupying my last 3 brain cells (@Lexincora) March 7, 2021
Dr. Manhattan was literally appropriating at worst, indifferent and changing for his wife at best, but Vishawn is something totally surprising and unique and speaks to the experience of multi-cultural people trying to navigate their identity in 2021 America.
@mochahazelnut77Inconsequential spoilers for #wandavision #wandamaximoff #thevision #marvelstudios #comedy♬ original sound – Micah J Hazel
And Vishawn/Vision even plays into the meta themes of the show about identity.
“NEITHER IS THE TRUE SHIP. BOTH ARE THE TRUE SHIP.”
For Vision in WandaVision, the question isn’t “Who am I without my powers,” but, “Who am I at all?”
Vision explains the paradox to White Vision through the Ship of Theseus, asking whether either of them are the real Vision if they’ve both been replicated in ways that deprive them of personhood — if they even had that at all.
Dating back to Ancient Greece in the time of Plato, the Ship of Theseus supposes there was an ancient ship kept in the harbor as a museum piece. As its boards rot, they’re replaced by new ones. After many years, every board is replaced. Is that ship still Theseus’ ship? What if all the rotten boards were miraculously removed of their rot and reassembled? Would that ship also be Theseus’ ship?
In this thought experiment, Vision is the replaced ship. While no part of him is the “original” Vision, he’s the one who has replaced him both in Wanda’s eyes and ours. White Vision is the reassembled ship, as he was miraculously repaired and brought “back,” but is still missing a key part. There’s no real correct answer. What makes a ship a ship? What makes a person a person?
Philosophically, the term “person” is hard to define in the MCU. After all, Thor isn’t technically human, but he is in fact a person. If humanoid aliens can be called a person, why not humanoid Synthezoids? And if Vision is considered a person even created through Wanda, then surely White Vision is too.
In fact, the scene with Vision and White Vision is philosophically interesting in a number of ways. In WandaVision Episode 8, Vision explains how he’s always been alone.
Now, he finally gets to be with someone who understands the sheer loneliness of being a Synthezoid. So of course he’s going to try to find a non-confrontational way of dealing with him — it’s the first time he’s been able to talk to someone who understands.
Writer Dekker Dreyer is a Filmmaker and Visual & Recording Artist and the founder of Clever Fox Entertainment. He lives in Los Angeles.